So there was a rather passionate discussion that went on in Discord earlier today about Alpha packs and I thought it would be useful to pen down some thoughts based on some of my feelings and what others had shared.
Now that the LE devs are designing the details of the Alpha packs, these might be useful feedback.
I have two main points to raise:
(1) Kickstarter packs are meant to fund LE till release (or at least up to open beta)
I will state this upfront. I personally do not think LE should release another full-fledged series of packs at least up till the game is in open beta. In the Kickstarter campaign, backers were given the impression that the KS funding would tide the devs through to a release version of Last Epoch. To launch a new series of packs, especially so soon after the Kickstarter campaign had concluded and before backers had even seen their exclusive ingame rewards - that simply feels like “cash grab”.
Having said that, this does not mean that I think EHG should not be soliciting funds at all for alpha/beta dev - afterall, having access to more funds certainly mean that they can broaden/accelerate the scope/release schedule of the game. But it heavily colors how elaborate I think the alpha/beta(presumably, we’ll see those) packs should be. My own thinking at this point is that discord user, forevertaken89’s idea of alpha/beta packs being just respective dev stage (alpha/beta) access + some discounted cosmetic points packs feels most reasonable to me. Or simply sell access to alpha or beta without additional exclusive perks.
(2) Beware packs “fatigue”
My second point is an elaboration of the issue with the timing of the Alpha packs. We just had a pre-alpha KS pack series that goes up to 10k, and now barely 3 months later we are going to see a new Alpha series. I think too many packs too soon is going to make people less inclined to buy each series. Whales, which business models like this aim to attract, tend to like to collect exclusive rewards. For me personally, if it is a game I like, I generally tend to go for the highest tier every time. If the game keeps coming out with high value packs and I feel I am unable to keep up, it is likely that I become more discerning and less likely to buy each pack as they are released.
Imo, POE does their pack release cycles and pricing rather well. In the early days, packs typically go up to 1k for top tier and are available for a year or so, before the new pack series cycles in. In recent years, they have converted to more regular pack releases while bringing down the cost of top tier packs (when Chris did this, he explained that there are alot of peope who like to collect exclusive pack rewards but find the 1k price point too high as they were always bundled with design rewards. So they decoupled it - top tier packs cost 440usd these days but you can “top up” for design perks. I think this is a great approach).
I hope the above is useful consideration for EHG in developing their future packs cycles and design. And hopefully, they will be releasing an Alpha series that both KS and Alpha supporters will be happy with.